Portrait of Hongyan, Prince Guo (1733-1765)

Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, Qianlong reign, mid- to late 18th century
Ink and color on silk
H x W (image): 222.1 x 103.7 cm (87 7/16 x 40 13/16 in) H x W (overall): 357 x 136 cm (140 9/16 x 53 9/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program and partial gift of Richard G. Pritzlaff
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

China, couch, portrait, prince, Pritzlaff collection, Qianlong reign (1736 - 1796), Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911), WWII-era provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable

The European architectural backdrop in this portrait seems intended to refer to the Yuanmingyuan, an imperial villa built by Hongyan's half brother, the Qianlong emperor (reigned 1736–96). A synthesis of Chinese and Italianate style, the villa exemplified the imperial court's cosmopolitan nature in the late eighteenth century. The European-influenced use of light and shadow on the prince's face and clothing as well as in the landscape panel behind him all lend an air of foreign exoticism that may have been part of the painting's original attraction. This background suggests that the portrait was used during the prince's life-perhaps as a way to underscore Hongyan's imperial connections by suggesting he had personally visited the emperor's private villa.

Published References
  • Jan Stuart, Evelyn S. Rawski. Worshiping the Ancestors: Chinese Commemorative Portraits. Exh. cat. Washington and Stanford. p. 122, fig. 5.4.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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